Is this some kind of joke?

Mandy was exhausted. She and Ethan had put their little cottage on the market and had happily began house hunting. They had hoped to find something closer to work and Eva’s daycare. And hopefully before their next child was born, due in only a few months.

Things hadn’t gone as planned. Houses for young families were in demand. Prices weren’t coming down and prime candidates went fast. Every other day, Mandy and Ethan put in an offer in on a house and every time an unacceptable counter would come back. Or worse.

Their dream house, the house they had seen several times over the years, had seen it come on and off the market was finally again on the market and in their price range. They scrambled to make an offer and then sat and waited, holding their breath, wringing their hands.

Their wait wasn’t long. Their agent Peter called back within two hours with the news.

The house needed a new foundation and the seller wasn’t going to adjust the price to account for the cost of the work.

They both thought this was some kind of cruel joke. They tossed ideas back and forth, calling Peter every couple of hours with different strategies, asking for his advice.  And it always came back the same: No, don’t do this.

Back they went to the drawing board, back to the market place.

As Mandy sat at her desk, tears of frustration rolled down her face. Life had been a roller coaster ride for years. The infertility issues, losing and finding jobs, motherhood, the challenge of owning an older home, long commutes. She was ready to move into her forever house and settle down.

She was startled by the sound of her cell phone ringing.  It was Ethan.

Hey babe, can you come meet me for lunch, there’s something I want to show you.

I don’t know. Work is kinda busy and I’ve taken off so much time already.

Come on, do you want me to talk to Joe? You know he likes me. He’ll let you go.

Okay. Where?

Mandy jotted down the directions, flashed the “I’m going” sign to Joe and headed out.

As she drove down the canyon road, she was amazed by the beauty around her. Houses were few and far between and the hills were covered in flowering trees. She kept waiting for the turn in the road where it would open on the suburban sprawl that made her feel defeated and cramped.

Her phone rang again. Mandy, where are you?

1310 Canyon View, right? Oh, I’m here!

Mandy couldn’t believe her eyes. Ethan was standing in front of a sprawling Spanish inspired villa. It clearly was in need of some attention but Mandy loved those kinds of challenges. She didn’t want a perfect house. She wanted one that needed her love.

Ethan, what is this place? We certainly can’t afford this. Are you playing a joke on me?

Knock knock?

Come on, I don’t want to play.


Sigh, Who’s there?


Yeah I see that.

Look what I have in my hand.

Mandy looked down at a set of keys in Ethan’s hand and then looked up at him, the obvious questions in her eyes.

You remember when I told you Dad wanted to send us some money? He did. Enough for the down payment.

But E, this has to be out of our budget. What’s wrong with the house? How?

Peter called me last week and told me about it. Another client of his owned this house. It had been in the family for years but just became too much for them to handle. Peter thought of us. He’s checked it out, and we had an inspection yesterday. It’s sound. The sellers are thrilled to have a young family buy their home.

But Ethan,we, what, how?

No Mandy, this is it. You’re home. It needs our love but its solid. Welcome home.

Please, don’t be kind. This is a learning experience for me and constructive criticism is welcome. Those of you that know me may recognize some details. I needed to dream this little dream for me.

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21 comments to Is this some kind of joke?

  • Theresa Sonoda

    Love Love Love Happy Endings! Nice descriptions, nice build-up, nice job! Enjoyed this story very much.


  • Yuliya

    Sadly I’m way too new at this to offer any feedback, but I sort of think it was all too good to be true…for your fiction piece I mean, in real life this is exactly what needs to happen!


  • Lydia

    I really liked how the scene was set up, I could feel her frustration in the tears she shed while at her desk. I honestly didn’t see anything wrong here, the characters seemed good and the scene went from desperation to real joy at the end.


  • Tracie

    This is the kind of dream that lives buried deep inside my heart.

    I felt her frustration and confusing…wanting to believe, but not quite letting herself accept it just in case it wasn’t real.

    I hope this dream comes true for you!
    Tracie recently posted..The Hat Room


  • Mandyland

    Well, you had me when you named your chick “Mandy”. :)

    I loved this. I loved that they found their perfect home and that it was affordable, in a nice area and away from town. I wish life would wrap itself up in such a nice little bow sometimes.

    You are an amazing writer and I totally enjoyed reading this.
    Mandyland recently posted..Montana Winter


  • Symdaddy

    Dammit woman!

    You had me going there.

    I thought you were gonna turn round and say you were telling us your ‘good luck’ story!

    Well written and not a boob in sight!
    Symdaddy recently posted..Stand-Off II


  • CDG

    Please tell me Adonis surprised you with a Spanish Villa!


    Because as believable as Mandy and Ethan are? I’d much rather move in with you!

    And hooray for tackling fiction with the prompt!
    CDG recently posted..A New and self-indulgent! Feature on MoMP!


  • Jill

    Great job! (I’m too new to offer any words) I’m excited for them!


  • Carrie

    Overall it’s really good. It could use a bit of editing to tighten it up. There are places where you could rewords things, switch some phrases around.

    The best way to edit a piece of writing it to read it aloud. If it is awkward to say then it probably awkward to read :)

    I loved the fact they found their forever home. I remember how frustrating it was to find our current house. I’m sure I looked at over 40 houses in 3 months!

    Visiting from RDC
    Carrie recently posted..Red Writing Hood 2- Little Comedian


  • Truthful Mommy

    I loved the story. Great use of description.My ONLY criticism is the ending…though I wish life all ended in happy felt too wrapped up in a pretty bow for me. It was very multi faceted and then I just felt that the ending was too happily ever after. I hope I’m saying this correctly because I’m not trying to sound like an ass. You asked for constructive criticism and that is the only thing I think that could be changed. Great job!How’s the real house hunting going?Have you guys found your own Spanish Villa?
    Truthful Mommy recently posted..Nutrisystem Week 13 UpdateGet back up &amp Dust yourself Off


  • MommaKiss

    I got nothin in the way of criticism, but i want you to have the house that will become your home, that’s for damn sure.
    MommaKiss recently posted..FFO 2-4-11


  • Jessica Anne

    I really liked this. What a wonderful dream come true. If only…
    Jessica Anne recently posted..The Art of Distraction


  • tulpen

    I got all excited reading this thinking it was partly real…I even almost cried at the end!
    tulpen recently posted..Thank You Sir- May I Have Another


  • Kristy

    I really loved how you intertwined the joke more into the story! Well done!


  • The Drama MAma

    I enjoyed this. I am also trying to buy my forever home right now, so this hit home. Great writing.
    The Drama MAma recently posted..Red Writing Hood- Patience


  • Jennifer

    I agree that the end felt rushed because in one sentence she goes from tears and wanting her forever house to getting it. Also the colored dialogue versus the traditional quotes made me wonder if Ethan was actually real or he was a figment on her imagination due to the level of her exhaustion. I thought you did a great job of capturing the feel of life when everything feels up in the air.
    Jennifer recently posted..Wait for it…


  • Nichole

    Damn it.
    I thought that you were going to tell us that you and Adonis had found your house.

    I love the story and think that it could be stretched out to really work. It’s tough in a piece this short to tell it all though, that’s why I think the leap felt a bit far for some of us.

    Having said that, I could identify with your characters and could feel Mandy’s desperation and exhaustion. I could also see how much Ethan loves her and how desperately he wants her to be happy.
    Love that.
    Nichole recently posted..There in the kitchen


  • Elizabeth Flora Ross

    I love this story. I could see it in my mind the whole time. It read like a movie. I like how you used the different colors for the dialogue. That was a great way to separate out the characters. I didn’t see the ending as such a leap as others did. I think you told the story well given the constraints. Good job!


  • Cheryl @ Mommypants

    See? Putting fiction out there, taking a chance – that didn’t hurt much, did it? Bravo for being brave, my friend.

    I agree that the story seemed a bit rushed, and I think it’s definitely because of the word limit. You feel like you have to wrap everything up that much quicker.

    Also I want some rich person to put the downpayment on my dream house. Only it CANNOT be a fixer-upper. That would be my worst nightmare!


  • Jessica

    I am too knew at this fiction business to give any major critique but I will say that this story and these characters seemed very real to me and you pulled me through the story seamlessly, I think you did a great job.
    Jessica recently posted..We Still Could


  • Jackie

    You did well!!! I liked it.

    Now others said that the ending was too happy… I beg to differ. It may appear to be an ending that is happy but it could also be a midpoint in the story. There could be more to it simply isn’t written yet.

    You’ve left the door open for more!
    Jackie recently posted..Hurricane


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